tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 6, 2014 9:30am-11:31am EST
it's reflective of a map that is dotted by arkansas and louisiana and alaska. these are not democratic bastions. remember, in a good number of states besides the democratic senator, there is no statewide democrat on the ballot. there's been no infrastructure built. we are dealing with a very lopsided map. and i think keeping that in mind is important. and the second thing is, again, going back to turnout, whether you're looking at colorado, iowa or healthcare -- which is where -- or north carolina, which is where i think a lot of our time was spent over the course of the last three weeks, the electorate got more democratic in party registration from 2010. think about that. it got more democratic in 2010. and in north carolina in 2010 democrats lost everything. it was historic losses in the state legislature for the first time going republican in decades, a republican governor was elected in a race that was
not close. and four years later in an environment that is more hostile, kay hagan comes pretty close to winning a senate seat despite $125 million being spent, and she did that in large part because we turned out tens of thousands of more of the most disenfranchised people in the country in a state where republicans shortened the early vote period from two weeks to one week and eliminated a lot of the easily-accessible voting sites for african-americans and for young people. ..
that's the lesson that democrats have to take. there's no question there are a lot of disappointed democrats and my message to them is take a few days, have a drink or two, get a little bit of rest, pick yourself back up because there's an election in two years and that's what we should be looking at over the next couple of months for what is going to definitely be another election cycle. >> the one candidate for president to did go to campaign with gary peters is the senator
elect. what is next for you? >> i think -- i have four kids and they are all very young. i think that my wife is assessing my next move and waiting out a number of thoughts for drop-offs and pickups which i'm glad to do so that is kind of the focus. and disneyland. so yes it was. i'm going to babysit the kids. >> that was the best that we had
>> we have to get to there when we are young. [applause] the >> that would be a trip. but my parents were college professors. most of my family is from new york and in the early days who knows what to make of me so that's kind of the short short-term plan. we have an orientation and these races will close out and it's amazing how focused people can get so we have to really mind are ways here
>> i'm going to ask this in a different way. hillary clinton has been known to check in on the election nights. i've heard that from many sources to read when is create when is the last time you talked to her? >> what i'm going to be doing after the first i'm going to disney world with rob and taking care of his kids -- i will answer your question. one of the great things about the last year in particular separate from the senate races is the rapid expansion around the country which has been remarkable to watch and my husband and i got married last september and i go him a honeymoon. [applause] so we are going to go on a honeymoon. that's going to be my first decision to make.
i saw secretary clinton in colorado. she did a fundraiser as well in california and we got a chance to talk about the races then. gave the full debrief on the races. i don't think that is a breaking news alert. the running for office is a personal decision. one of the things wrong side of that is true is after four cycles of recruiting the candidates, the candidates don't really ask about winning and losing because if we are recruiting them it's because we think they can win. what they are asking about is what impact does this have on my family and how does it look different?
rarely is very conversation it's about talking to the spouses and kids about what life will be like in the campaign and unfortunately we are in the modern era of research where everything about your life is exposed which makes it much harder for recruiting because i think the candidates look at what's happening and say why do i want to put myself through that. a lot of the candidates that's what we talked about. why despite all the reasons not to do it you still should. so i think that it will be a personal decision and i hope she does it and regardless of whether i am involved in the campaign, i will be a vocal supporter of her efforts. >> thank you for this enlightening discussion. we are glad to have you.
can i remind everybody that joined us we have a couple of things to give away. the first thing is the new member guide. please pick it up in the hallway and share them. my staff worked late into the night and got the latest information about the complexion of the kennedy and the party agendas. we have five issues to watch in five different areas. we are going to be having breakout sessions with some of
the next now -- we are going to do a deep dive analysis on what happened on tuesday and what it pertains for the policies and the 2016 election. this panel is led by the center who is rollcall's political editor. earlier this year she was a scholar at harvard university politics. so she brings the expertise to rollcall both as a columnist and has a guider of the newspapers political coverage. i'm going to hand it over and she will introduce her guest. >> can you hear me okay?
it's going to be challenging for my allergies i can already tell. wasn't that a great panel? didn't he do a great job? so i'm the editor at rollcall and this panel is entitled what happened so about tuesday night and joining me today to the far right is nathan gonzález the deputy editor of the rothenberg political report contributing writer and founder of the politics and prose.com. nbc news political reporter and previously reporter for time and the "washington post" and he covers domestic policy and politics and you can follow him on twitter.
to my left is mark blumenthal the editor at the huffington post and founding editor. if you would like you can sign up for the newsletter simply add pollster.com and then on my left is anti-livingstone who focuses on the house create you can follow her at rollcall addie and she's also been a producer at cnn and nbc and very importantly, she is one of the star players of the bad news softball team on the press side. the members of the press take on the members of congress and it's a great fundraiser for cancer research as well. >> i have a couple of questions for the panel and then for about
30 or 40 minutes and we will go to the q-and-a stood to go so start thinking of your questions now. the key thing i keep looking after tuesday night is about the democrats and the president was largely held responsible the blame that's been put is for the congressional democrats could have done to avoid this political slaughtering. nation wide don't we start with you? i feel like every cycle we come to the same conclusion about the campaign committee that when things go right the committee's gets more credit than they deserve it when they go wrong they get more blame than they deserve. but to me that doesn't mean they have control over what's happening. and i think that this was a fascinating election because we have an answer to the question of how much to the local
politics matter and can a well-known politician with a family name and family brand in the state cannot overcome the national trajectory of an election. note the national trend in the state louisiana isn't quite done but the family brands that were supposed to save these democratic members are not enough to get them reelected. of the sixth year of the presidency being terrible i think that there are choices and decisions the administration makes up to that point and a good example as president bill clinton's term that was a disaster for his party and when you look at the members they
made a choice with their vote and republicans did a good job of highlighting those votes with $100 million of advertising and highlighting the democratic members took in favor of the president's agenda. one ad i remember in the 2010 cycle was congressman joe donnelly in the indiana second district and he was running against the problems and the washington crowd as those -- as the narrator was saying that they had a president obama and nancy pelosi so a democratic member of congress running against the washington crowd with the two leaders of the
party and even though i thought i was stunning but joe donnelly made the decision that in his competitive district and in a competitive environment training against his party, he wasn't always going to distance himself from the president that run against the president and he survived and ended up catching a couple breaks in 2012 and being elected to the senate but democrats could have made a strategic decision to run more adamantly against the president and say that would hurt the turnout but look at where they ended up in the current strategies of that is something where we don't know the answer. >> the fundamental thing to make a big difference here in the six-year how on the popular the president was you had the place where someone like mark warner
in virginia wrote a bill of the political brand where he is the guide goes to the communities and does really well. not this time. his voting was similar to terry and tim tim kane and for that matter president obama. his personal brand that made no difference in the environment. you have allison crimes of kentucky who wouldn't say if she voted for the president and her numbers were the same. she won by three more points than he did. the democrats didn't pick her. she was young, she was a woman. she was like the perfect candidate. the results were almost word for word and vote for vote they ran a few points ahead of him but none were as sustained as obama in georgia and grinds rand three points ahead and they don't know what they could have done in
this environment. i would like to say that i'm i am not sure that a strategy would be so anti-obama win at the end of the day the president's approval rating had a lot to do with how you you do doing this notion that in today's environment you can separate from the president and say i'm not sure if i voted for him or not and it's not believable it could have been useful to think about if the president is going to be an anchor why don't i say if you are kentucky or arkansas the data shows that they dropped tremendously because the health care while walking back may be prior and grinds should have said the health care law is working as opposed to try to run away from it because they lost so many planes anyway. it's been a guy agree with everything i've heard so far and the political environment in any given election with the national
candidate for senator and member of congress is largely defined by not just the president is that their policy. it drives everything. these tend to be elected officials you pay the least attention to did go away for six years and depending on where you live they might get more attention or not. the mayor or the governor gets governor gets attention and the senator pops up and they engage once every six years for a couple months so it is very hard and next to impossible to disengage and make the races for local. use all that very vividly. my colleagues on the numbers illustrated this in the last 24 hours. scott had a piece yesterday where he looked at the vote for
the democratic senator and obama's approval rating at almost every instance they ran a little bit ahead of obama's approval rating but not much, two or 34 points. they took the county level vote for i think there were six southern states where there were senate races and five included democratic incumbents and lost all that warner and he crowded that against every one in a perfect diagonal line so they were successful and it is very hard. i think it should be hard for anyone to sit up here and say they could have done this or that. they saw the reality facing them which days if they embraced
president obama in their state they were going to go down. they tried in different ways. some of them coming you know, more indirect route stacked more workable than others but it didn't make a lot of difference either way. >> anything to add? >> this summer i moderated a state at the greenbrier that is a huge cost lax in west virginia and it's the treasurer of the state state that has a lot of economic struggles this is the wealthy bastion and they take a lot of pride and i was talking to someone i that worked there and there was a strange thing going on. the reason is because they do the summer workout so they have
adopted them because they've acknowledged that the greenbrier is there and it's a forgotten state and as i continued to walk around they had a video that you could watch in your hotel room and it's like all these luminaries tuesday they have photographs of movie stars everywhere you go and it donned on me i think the last president that stated there was eisenhower and a few days later i thought what if president obama had come here to play golf. it's his favorite activity and he could have gone to play golf and i don't think anything would make west virginia like president obama. he held them to the end of the race but it was 22% and i just thought if president obama had come and play golf it might have
made it a little easier to be there but instead i'm not saying that he had a mandate to do that but if there had been some kind of outreach just to say if he had been the first president to say this is a great golf course i think it would have brought a little pride. i don't think that race was ever winnable shelley moore capito was like the michael jordan of west virginia but it could have been less hard. the other anecdotes i feel okay saying now that when i a while we saw what was happening with bruce braley it wasn't that he wasn't doing well but the seats below him were going down. i talked to the democrats when i was like its been most days like today and -- disliked man and
it's like he created an environment that made it that much harder and harder and so people made a tactical mistakes and i think that they probably made some mistakes along the way but at the end of the day that's what it came down to. since you wrote on the citizens united case what can we say now what can we see that the expanded role of the money and the politics. you've seen $4 million spent on this the most ever. if you think about the reality. it doesn't seem like a lot for one person but in reality of course most people are not getting the money well and we saw this like a big change we hadn't seen before according to the responsive politics.
the amount of the donors went down so in 2010 there were about 800,000 individual donors to campaign with 700,000 individual can the numbers are getting money even though the actual money went up. we are getting the picture of what the campaign finance looks like in this environment. and we saw in 2004 about 96% of the money was by the groups that disclosed how much they spent into this here about 65% for which meant one third of the money was spent meaning of the money where you can actually track the donation and that's benefited republicans a lot because it was very number heavy that you saw in terms of the campaign commercials about 23%
of the commercials that were the democrats were funded in some ways by undisclosed donors almost 48% of the republican ads in the millions of dollars was spent on the ad where the donor isn't required to say where the money came from. i went up to the voters and people kept telling me he is really caring and i thought that's interesting. i've heard he's a strategic. she's ambitious but he had never heard this. but then i watch tv and mcconnell because he had one of these groups running these ads the independent groups spent a lot of money saying grimes, obama. is that he was able to run all kinds of positive ads that show him bringing money back to the state and how nice he was and is smiling in the way that you can
rarely see. >> remember we had the campaign financing a few years ago and the goal is if you had a negative ad you would have to say they can develop a terrible person. but you don't do that anymore because i learned positive ads saying how nice and caring. it's a big change. >> one of the things we cover is the house races. i know you love covering the house races. house republicans about recently solved a number of women in the conference of dwindle. what do they do in terms of diversifying the republican caucus into believing that there will be -- will that affect the course of speaker better's
leadership? >> this question is all about what's new opponent she's going to have in the softball game next year. one of the things because of the women's issues and their dealings on the hot topic i looked before the election to see what what art thou races and will there be more republican women in this congress than at the beginning of the last congress and the republicans started from a little bit of a deficit of emerson at the beginning of two years ago. barbara here in northern virginia and mimi walters in california. so that would be gaining one. right now in the second district
in the 30 votes there's a chance there's a lot to be accountable in the democratic and republican counties. so for some of those women even though the number of women are so low in the caucus they will be getting a lot of attention. she is 30-years-old and the youngest woman in elected and so she's going to get a lot of attention. mia love is going to have a fairly high profile in the party just they will get a disproportionate amount of attention. the diversity is also another well heard in the 23rd district. it's pretty remarkable because the democratic peak in the majority and so i think that he will get some attention.
carlos in florida's 26th sixth district will be district will be coming to congress and then we will see carl's who is an openly gay congressmen but that race is still close to call. so republicans there is an opportunity to be -- the house promotes diverse members outside of the typical stereotype that they have. >> we should point out we are talking about a house republican conference. >> the republican caucus actually my colleague and friend and competitor had a great breakdowns on the deterioration or of white men and the increase of the minorities and of the women compared to and i would
encourage you to check out his thing. >> i thought we could go around and talk about the biggest surprise from tuesday night. why don't we start with you? >> i would say the fact we don't know if she's coming back to congress, her name wasn't mentioned to me in this entire cycle by democrats or republicans to try to catch these sleeper surprises and that came out of nowhere. i called a couple of the republicans and this is the kind of thing you were keeping under the radar and you didn't want me to report it and give it away. we didn't see this one coming created the other. in the post-redistricting race it was in the maryland gubernatorial race and there was a point that there was a point tuesday night where anything seemed possible. it is feasible i would say that
water and john delaney. >> my panelists, how many live in the deep seeded area basically everybody in the room? how many of us would have predicted that we would be talking about the potential recounts in virginia and the six or seven points of the wins. it was our own backyard and certainly i didn't see them coming and i should have. so, since we were misled by the polling, let's talk about both of them. maryland is a classic case hearkening back to harry truman. the trustworthy independent media poll stopped at the
beginning of the month. the "washington post" poll was in early october and i think they did one even earlier than that. there wasn't a lot of polling. now the internal polls were released by the campaign and had their candidates down a week out and had in the final weeks of water that included looked at with a grain of salt. i remember staring at that and thinking we should look at this more closely but wait a minute i have eight senate races and 23 other pieces to write. so that's one is kind of classic. virginia, similar. there were a number of polls and i think that this gets into the more systematic issue. but there is a situation where it shouldn't have been a surprise to anybody and that
isn't to mean that he would finish closer in the end when they had a classic income than the challenger situation where an incumbent with a whole lot of money would dominate the election in virginia which is always crucial wasn't going to be able to start spending money towards the end with the voters that engage at the end would see and consolidate republicans but for me the surprise was how well warner seems to be doing in the in weeks two, three and one. i was expecting to see it closed down to three or four points into surprising that it didn't. i want to give give an opportunity -- >> those are the biggest surprises and we will come back to the polling was.
it is almost to the point why do we cover the race he lost the prior race by so much. >> the margins were stunning and when you look at the house races in the first district, the long island district with congressman tim bishop that is normally a district that is very tight for the last decade but a very tight race and he won by ten points. when you go up further than the 24th district and the republican there is a race that we knew was breaking breaking at republicans for spending and they had the advantage and we thought things were tightening created the republican won by 20 points just a complete collapse that gets down to the states where the turnout operation just wasn't there but the margins were.
another thing i was surprised with on the house side is the incumbent if you would have told me that republicans were going to gain 13 seats and that and kirkpatrick survived i think that is a stunning and on the flipside someone like john and george who the republicans have been targeting since he was first elected over a decade ago i think that he's amazing as a politician because you have a harvard educated lawyer and when you look at that it is a terrible southern southern accent but it starts getting deeper and deeper and he has been a survivor and for him to lose by considerable margins i think it's telling and the only white white males of the democratic left is good to be david price of north carolina since x-xray -- nick rayhaul
lost. >> you mentioned arkansas. to see them lose by 18 points, lincoln lost by 21 points and income bird of the race completely differently. >> we were told the entire cycle mark prior is no blanche lincoln >> that is a perfect segue to the next question. sue rothenberg wrote a column about the results and what happened and i'm going to read a small portion and you can read the whole column on rollcall dot com. the operatives were intentionally misled reporters and handicapped about what was going on during the cycle. republicans had a tough cycle in 2012 of course and went through a process of public reflection and self-criticism. it will be interesting to see whether democrats will see the same thing. i think that i should ask the
pollster the question first. do you think democrats will have a reflection after this moment where do you think the problem is more widespread? >> i think it is more widespread and the democratic and the media pollsters have been having moments of reflection for the last ten years. we used to do what we do by calling land line phones and now we are in a situation where more than half of americans either don't have a landline phone or they don't answer when it rings. so in this moment of incredible challenge to the polling industry on the one hand if you took all of the senate polls as we did at 5:38 and so on and you aggregate than or average them then you would have in the senate race and looked at who was ahead or behind you would
would have the race right and that is north carolina and it didn't miss by much. our estimate was plus two and she's losing by a little bit. on the other hand, there was a consistent understatement of the republican vote in most states in the senate and that meant if you repeated the same exercise for the governors the good news is we had four races at the end that were half a percentage point separated the top candidates and less than two-point separated and that situation you're going to miss a lot. three or four of those were missed. the misses for in the republican
wing. we talked about maryland and virginia. to put it in context, four years ago the polling was often in nevada. the pre-election polls had a share in angle -- sharon engel and there was a six-point error on the margin and we thought that's incredible is this the beginning of the end. well, the error in arkansas was 11 points on the margin. the difference between the final polling average and the results was the leading points in arizona and arkansas, ten in virginia and kentucky, nine in kansas and 17 in the maryland governor's race. any time you have an error it is like a engineering error it is not usually just one thing but its multiple things that are all
going wrong in this interaction so maryland it would have helped to have its leader as a trend and in arkansas you can look at the chart and see the almost 45-degree line so there was a trend and there may have been more of a trend and kentucky. i think if you look at the average amount of labor day and as we did on the newsletter monday morning you can see republicans increased the margins of almost every one of the states. it usually is the republican number going up every two points for the democrat went up as the undecided went down so there was evidence in play that is democrats were cast in the race is to a greater degree and republicans who were lesser-known challengers and
gaining recognition or going up so there was an effect going disproportionately although that didn't explain it all and the same phenomena was at work in the whole mechanism. no pollsters say this the same way so there is no one leverage they should have pulled that they didn't, so i think it was probably a pattern where there was an assumption that the 2010 turnout was the worst it could get. it's outside of the five or six races to be the wrong one. >> something we noticed over the last cycle or two is the newfound use of the polls. we will get them released with a lot of with a lot of end her bowl and also see the the independents are outlets and they do this as a way to drive the narrative.
i love how you love writing those up above the partisan polls and some of the things we cover. it's for this reason specifically no one is going to give you a poll out of the goodness of their heart they will change a narrative and they could be on the flipside they could be wrong. they could be enormously helpful. i started to get some tremors in july. the republican incumbent was like you should shift your focus to steve sutherland in florida. then the independent group fit what i was hearing and seeing so
they ended up losing and he survived. so i have two balance. there are so many scientific angles that go into it. the quality of how it was conducted, didn't include english, spanish, does the district needed that. so there is a balance. my loyalty is to the reader and i'm not going to write it up into so i get a lot of pressure from people you're not being fair. you wrote there a campaign why aren't you going to write my? so it is a difficult balance because it is a hard piece of evidence to show but you also have to use a little instinct and i usually end up with the
final verdict. >> do you have anything to add? >> one thing that has not been is we will call it the republican polling debacle of 2012. a lot of the top-tier republican pollsters made a concerted effort to change making sure they had 25 to 30% cell phones in their samples. when the republican pollsters were going into the field that would almost seemed too good to be true. i think sometimes there's a tendency to wage goes back to somewhere between the 2010 and the 2012 electric because there was a fear of being wrong again like we messed up. we can't afford to be wrong again.
so even those that added and made it difficult to identify the margins that we saw on election day i think 2010 the republican pollsters did a better job of identifying what type of cycle, what type of electorate was going to show up and 2012 i think democrats do a better job in the 2,014th so they will go into 2016 saying well which pollsters are going to be the most accurate in identifying the trend. the voters are over 60. only 12% of them are under 30. so we don't want to blame the millennial but i'm curious about why is the voter turnout.
the gap is growing in a very large way and the democrats at the last time were trying to make sure they showed up in the midterm and it doesn't appear that worked at all and i'm curious why there were a lot of them on tv talking about how important they are. it doesn't seem to have happened at all. >> i want to ask a couple questions you returned to about the demographics versus the turnout question for the democratic party but i want to ask about new hampshire. new england in general. the report seemed to be right in the new hampshire senate race or at least related to other races. >> i can't leave it hanging because that is a good question. we were talking before the panel about it being cautious about making too much of the exit poll
estimates of tomography because we will have other ways of looking at this coming from the census. but i think that there is a gap growing and it has more to do with the fact there's been a higher turnout among the younger people than the last two presidential elections than the change in the midterms. but anyway, so new england -- new hampshire was one of the handful of states where the polling understated. but what was interesting to me when you didn't see the understatement of republicans, it happened to be less or even in the democrats direction in new hampshire and massachusetts to a lesser extent in connecticut in the northeast which is interesting. not named or vermont.
i don't know. one theory is that massachusetts and new hampshire has a lot of homegrown polling that is locally based outfits that only pull massachusetts and new hampshire and it's interesting if you look at it's always dangerous to judge a pollster by one survey and its nearly irresponsible because it has a lot to do with mailing that result. but they came out looking pretty good and "the des moines register" in iowa that is a homegrown locally focused operation, my partner charles franklin who runs the law school poll and has the governor's race right there and we can pick
others. there are a lot of those in new england and new hampshire. >> house democrats took an unexpected in some ways to the extent. there is a lot of younger members of the caucus that they are worried about the future of the house democratic party. what do you see as that nervous energy and what direction are they going in this cycle? >> the cycle didn't matter because the hope was that the democrats could make a few gains or when it became clear maybe just mitigate the losses and then in 2016 they could make up the difference.
they could make up the difference and take back the gavel which likely hillary clinton is at the top. i talked to one member yesterday and the person just kept saying we lost 70 seats. that is a pretty staggering number. so i think the reality is hitting that it's going to be without the unforeseen waves into major changes in the political dynamic democrats are going to have a hard time getting the gavel back before the next redistricting map in 2021. so, when i talk to people on the hill the leaders sent a letter yesterday saying she's running again. i don't foresee any sort of challenge to her that there is definitely a younger generation that is getting restless.
then you have already coming up on another group and so we have these three generations impacting each other and how they execute elections it might be interesting to see in the next few years how these forces collide. we are going to go to the q-and-a in just two or three minutes but i thought that we should go around and talk about what this election was about. what's the big story this was about. was it about the economy, candidates. anything i will start with you. >> i think it was about president obama. there were so many stories, the election about nothing. i feel like president obama was the shadow that was cast over the entire election and under
that umbrella there was the economy or how people felt about the economy. there was before in crisis and things domestically, ebola. it also under the umbrella of president obama. >> i am still grappling with the fact not man fact not many people have ebola. isis has been delayed a little bit. 10 million people have health insurance. those three things kill the president obama. it's occasionally the reality in the other thing that was striking if i was in louisville yesterday with senator mcconnell asking what his agenda was on the party going forward and he talked about tax reform and trade agreements as being the big deal and i don't think i heard a lot of this during the campaign it's a little disconcerting that in some ways
the campaign was not about issues to the point we already know the platform to run on is. a lot of the big issues didn't come come out and that is disappointing you want the campaign to be about the ideas. they are defended here by saying barack obama said climate change is one of the biggest problems of the world in the urgent challenge and i think that is a big challenge in the world. the republicans say the government spending is huge and that's a problem. medicare is a part of that. is there a plan on medicare that they are going to do today? these are important issues and the nation was transfixed. did you hear anything about that on the campaign trail?
i didn't hear a lot of proposals. it felt like it was about who was going to win and what it was about. i get that. but the big issues were going to be delayed until later and i don't feel like it should have been that way. >> i just think that the american public since 9/11 has been disappointed by the government in big ways like the financial crisis and it was a tiny thing but it's one more thing that went wrong. cable news blew it up to the internet limit up and i don't know if it is possible to lead the public isn't feeling good about president obama right now. >> redefine what we talk about and what the politics is about so my answer is not ebola or
benghazi but the bigger picture. we had six years since the economy crashed into the economic indicators are coming back and it still feels like things are not good. are things headed in our things headed in the right direction or the wrong track? sixty or 70% say not good in one version or another so that is what shapes the their perceptions of how the president is doing and that's what is driving it. >> is time to open up to all of you for questions. >> i made am a former policy director on the campaign. why is it someone like me that writes these things what we should do on this issue or that
issue finds find the press release you cover is the one about the poll backs there is a member of stories stories that's really surprising to those that work on the issues so what is it that drives that as being the thing that becomes more covert and talked about and given that we find problems code or should that change in the future? >> there is an incentive and i don't know what policy papers you are writing that but i think the candidates are generally very generic in their policy proposals. there's there is very little that is outside the box because the more specific you get, the more likely to be attacked by the other side. we were working for better wages. what does that tell you?
[inaudible] the reality for me as a business story is about policy details and attention and let's be honest about that and that is one of the core challenges. most of the time when i cover elections it's not what is the most prominent, it is hillary running and are the democrats going to win the senate. we would all like to think -- i would like to write more stories about the details but the interest is we don't agree there's something wrong with the race. should the balance be better? i would like the balance to be
for equally. i would say a press release is sometimes hard for reporters to make interesting because it can be vague. but often we ask direct questions, what do you think, and tried to nail them down. we do the best we can. >> i wanted to chime in last because i have the cheap answer, which is covering polls and polling is my beat, that's what i'm paid for. but the reason that i have this job is that for people who read the "huffington post" and who read everything else we write. that's what they want to click on. given we're in the internet age we have a good idea of what stories people click on and read and share, and they like to read about -- it's people like all of you in this room. it's the 10 or 15 or 20%, or whatever number is, maybe 3% who really like reading about politics. those people usual are partisan and they want to know how their team is doing. it's sports within.
they want to know if their team is going to win. it doesn't address your question, which is the really hard question, how do you get disengaged -- people who decide elections and a lot of people who don't vote, all of the people who don't vote are not engaged in politics. that clicking on policy stores, not clicking on polling stories, they are not following this. and how you get americans who don't engage in politics to engage in it? that is a hard question, given that we are all chasing our audiences who are engaged in it. >> i should also just, we cover a lot of policy at cq ro call, and a few of my favorite stories was the role of education in the north carolina senate race and also we teamed up with the cq reporter to look at the role of health care in minnesota which is especially interesting given franken worked on the medical
loss ratio in obamacare. >> you had mentioned -- charles. you mentioned democrats lost 70 states over six years. the fcc conference lost 70 games over six years every coach would be fired in that conference. why did the democrats keep their current leadership? >> that's a tough question. >> you have to vote, that's what it comes down to. there's no challenger i've seen evidence of anyone willing to launch a challenge. california delegation. at the end of the day i don't, there's no challenge. >> i suppose we will argue the president drives the results. george w. bush was on blogger and they lost seats because president obama's pidgeon has been unpopular. i don't think we should say she has a whole lot to control.
>> i would add from a few phone calls the past 36 hours, my sense is most of the democratic caucus is angry at president obama. they are not so much angry at a low c. -- nancy pelosi. [inaudible] >> edward roder, sunshine press. the spending this year was huge, and yet turnout wasn't that great. our campaigns finding it harder to reach voters because the media is so segmented? and has either party done much to increase participation from get out the vote and voter id? or are they still missing half the voters in off years? >> i want to speak to it just a little of it. there was enormous, i think you
heard before we came on, at least the democrats, they spent an unprecedented amount of money on get out the vote internet and technology aimed at enhancing both of those things. the question, implicit in your question, that didn't work because turnout was down nationwide. one, in the states would've spent all that money was up. and i'm looking at a map that was produced off the data for my friend michael mcdonald at the university of florida, up two points in colorado, it was up a point in iowa, a point and a half in north carolina, up five points in wisconsin. where there were big races and a lot of money being spent on all sorts of things, advertising, get out the vote, there was higher turnout. it wasn't presidential level but it'll think anybody who had the money to spend on them was
claiming that they could replicate presidential level turnout. i think the most, you know, the people that sell this, the salespeople are perfectly willing to say that at best they might lose a point or two their way. getting -- comes back, getting people engaged in politics who are not outside of the presidential election where it's about two personalities is a very tough thing. >> so campaigns are about two things. mobilization of the base, and persuasion of the middle. in the midterms a lot of the gop efforts and money was spent, a lot spent on the mobilization of the base, and i think there's only so much you can do when people are excited. you can contact them and send them as many e-mails and you can call them, you can text them. if people aren't excited, i think money isn't the issue.
another way, spending begets more spending. and when one party goes into a district or goes into race and starts spending, the other party comes into response and the television race keeps getting higher and higher. i believe at the end, i bet it was more expensive to air an ad in cedar rapids, iowa, that was in las vegas, nevada, because those were where the races were. iowa, the iowa senate race in iowa house races. so the spending just kind of keeps going. there's a much larger question about how, that the campaigns and the parties are struggling with with television advertising being lessfficient, how do you conduct people online? and i know the parties are focusing more money on digital. i know the dccc was proud in the final couple of days that they owned the local webpages of the local media because with banner ads and everything. it's just i think both parties,
the voter files are becoming more sophisticated and everything but it's still out of thing anyone has the key or the right answer as to how to reach people and motivate them 100% of the time. >> i think we have time for one more question. >> jolt back or -- packer. education was one of the issues. education is something president obama mentioned yesterday may be on higher ed working with republicans. there's been polling that shows it's a high priority for the public. was it your sense that it played in any of the races as a decided factor, or any level of importance? >> are you asking me?
well, in that particular race it played because thom tillis was the speaker in their passing education bill over the course of the summer and affected his candidacy. i would be hard-pressed to think of many other races where it took a leading role, although i think house democrats might have used it to help drive out the male voters a couple times. can you guys think of any other examples because the only other example is in the pennsylvania governor's race with tom corbett and to keep us definitely high to changes -- hide to changes. that was the only federal race for education comes to mind. >> i probably saw a few ads but their religious were many dominating issues like that in these campaigns. it was very scattered. >> well, i think, give our panelists a round of applause. [applause]
thank you, everyone. >> thank you, shira before everybody breaks up, you have some decisions to make and i will let you know about them. we are about to go to the breakout session. again, we have 30 each use -- issues to watch on six categories and there are three places for you to go. because it's an hour you can go between them but i'll just let you know where we are going right now. you will be able to engage with cq roll call expert on t these areas, and we have someone moderate the discussion to make sure that it gets kicked off and moves along. so we have budget and appropriations, and transportation and room called the hill which is out there intd to the right and down the end of the hallway. tamar will be there to answer your questions. tom curry will be engaging with you on transportation issues.
right im o out to the right there will be breakout sessions for energy and environment with geof koss from cq roll call and on defense issues with john donnelly. again straight out there and you'll see the room is called the grid. if you're interested in technology and cybersecurity, and health care issues, you do have to walk a little bit so you will get healthier on your way up to the connect room on the second floor where you can engage rob margetta on technology and angel bettelheim on health care. so grab a coffee, get going, move between the ribs and we'll see you back here in one hour. thank you, and thank you, guys. [inaudible conversations]
>> we will return to this conference live and about one hour as you heard they're heading out into breakout sessions but if you missed any of this one is discussion you can go online anytime, c-span.org, check out the c-span video library. there will be another panel on the midterm election results coming up shortly hosted by the american enterprise institute. you can watch it live at noon eastern on c-span3. also coming up in about one on c-span, president obama posthumous awards the medal of honor to army first lieutenant alonzo cushing for his action in the battle of gettysburg during the civil war.
we will have that light from the roosevelt room at 11:45 a.m. eastern on c-span. live at 1:15 p.m., john boehner hold a news conference to discuss the midterm election results and the republican agenda. you can watch all of that today on the c-span networks. >> this weekend on the c-span networks --
>> okay, good afternoon, everybody. welcome back from lunch. i'm frederic wehrey, seem associate in the middle east program at the carnegie endowment. it's my pleasure to moderate this panel on the iran factor and regional calculations. we are focusing on this session on the country of enormous consequence for the campaign against the islamic state. some would say the strategic pivot around which the anti-campaign revolves or if you believe certain iranian narratives, the region indispensable power and this is the islamic republic of iran. regardless of where you stand on this, iran's involved and its influence on the two keyeaders of the anti-isis struggle have a profound applications on a number of levels. at the level of military
operations, iran wields enormous power projection capabilities in terms of its quds force relationship with shia militia come its political influence in damascus and baghdad among the kurdish and shia faction. and especially at the level of broader geopolitics, its relationship with the united states. iran's climate with the united states against isis is part of a broader convergence of regional realities that includes obviously a nuclear costs. and this has thrust the united states into a delicate balancing act with regard to its traditional allies. but the key question here is what does this mean? is this simply a flash of convergence in the face of underlying and still unresolved strategic disagreement with the islamic republic, special delight of the domestic strength of the revolutionary guard and their abrasive worldview that is inimical to u.s. interests? in this town want to export all these issues highlighting a few
of the islamic state from tehran, their view of how transformative it is for their position and its interests, policies that it is pursuing at the military, political and diplomatic level and, of course, what it all means to the region and especially the united states. to all of our panelists, both those that are present and those -- actually -- very good. they'll bring enormous expertise. i am delighted to welcome them. to my right is ray takeyh, a senior fellow by the council of foreign relations, a longtime scholar of the islamic republic, published in numerous publications. he has served in government as a senior advisor on iran at the department of state. and just joining us is colonel joel rayburn, senior research fellow at the national defense univey. he is a historian by training but more importantly brings an
enormous wealth of on the ground operational experience in iraq as an advisor to general petraeus. we had the pleasure of serving together in baghdad in 2008 working on some of these issues. and then, of course, to my left, like khalid karim sadjadpour, a longtime student of iran and a senior associate here at carnegie. ray, i will start off with you unemployed we talked about a broader sort of theme setting discussion of the islamic state and their regional policies. >> sure. thanks again for inviting me. i would just say a couple things as a way of introduction what karim and others have to say. first of all i think looking at the middle east today, -- you see my talk is already been provocative. [laughter] if you look at the middle east
today it's very different than the one that we grew up in. one of the things was said about the middle east prior to the arab spring is that whatever the deficiencies of may have been, the state governments in the middle east were often corrupt, certainly economically mismanaged by the command of their territory. that's no longer the case in a number of middle eastern countries, not the case in libya, not a case in iraq, not the case in yemen, syria. it's never been the case in lebanon. and this is essentially you beginning to see some fragmentation of middle eastern states along sectarian and ethnic cleavages. this creates enormous opportunity for sort of a mischievous actors looking at the middle east. because as the state power decomposes and as you begin to see people sort of clustering together in various identity
groups, at the same time what has taken place in the region for sort of an arab -- or a cold war in the 1960s it was cold of the arab cold war which dated sort of what was called radical republics, against conservative monarchies, jordan, saudi arabia. a similar cold war has descended on the middle east today and this time is getting the islamic republic of iran against saudi arabia. this cold war is playing itself out in a lot of different places where you already see a measure of sectarian fragmentation, certainly in lebanon, iraq and against syria, and elsewhere in the gulf. i do think fred has written about this that the saudi claims of iranian mischief in the gulf, bahrain and so on are exaggerated but perhaps without evidence. so you begin to see, in my view, i so is not a new phenomenon -- isil. but in the future we will see
many isil's. again, history of the middle east had isil's before. and early 20th century there was a sunni radical group sort of counting across the arabian heartland beheading people in the name of religious orthodoxy sanctioning its activities by using austere as longer that became the house of -- you see other sort of things like that taking place. at the time when the state is no longer in control of this territory and people are relying their religion and tribesmen and so on for protection and services, you are likely to see manifestation of many such groups that happen. now, iran has always had a contradictory policy towards iraq come and i would say rather consistent policy towards series. toward iraq it always thought that iraq should remain a unitary state but at the same time a week in state and you
begin to see the tension between the two. it sought and about those dominated by shia political actors but nevertheless make some accommodations cosmetic or otherwise for the sunni minority to you begin to see tension between the two. it has also been extraordinarily involved in some of the problems of iraq, some of the problems that iranians helped to create, sort of a sectarian polarization that has taken place in the region is very much to some extent the product of iran to so to some extent they are suffering from the problems they helped create themselves. and right now i think they've learned some of the lessons of the maliki regime and pushing the new regime in a different direction, perhaps in a greater degree of inclusion. i think iranian material assistance is not insignificant in battling islamic insurgency in iraq but also don't think it will be material. i do think that they tend to exaggerate the level of support that they give as a means of
maintaining leverage on all the actors. i don't accept sort of an arab gulf claims that iranians are secretly funding isil. but nevertheless, i think iranians have the capacity of some tactical dexterity. their policies been consistent from 2011. it maintained that assad will survive and they didn't think it was going to end or redefine themselves and they made substantial investments in the survival. unlike the russian federation i don't think that iranians don't necessarily the holden on the assad person nevertheless some measure of influence in syria beyond the assad dynasty. in both places actually when you listen to the iranians states and discussions, they find themselves very comfortable in the new middle east. which is kind of paradoxical because nobody is really comfortable in the new middle east. their claim is that actually
they have had a history of operating in sort of a murky, muddy places, lebanon and afghanistan, and that is giving them experience to deal with such situations better than the united states, and in many ways better than the incumbent sunni regimes. there's been a lot of talk about whether united states should cooperate with iran, arresting the surge of isil. i tend to be skeptical of those claims in the new middle east with the states are frightened and yet at the groups rising and militant groups and factions. you're going to have a great deal of tactical convergence but that doesn't necessarily result in strategic commonality. and i don't think it should be mistaken for another iran's vision for the middle east ended before iraq are different than those from the united states. the iranians were responsible for substantial reform and iraq during the time of occupation by
the united states, principally in terms of transporting munitions and training militias that lacerated american forces in that particular country. and they have played a mischievous and altogether i think unhelpful role in terms of the syrian civil conflict. and also their vision of the middle east and particularly division of the gulf is one where american interest is diminished an american presence largely on its way out. and also, i mean this is one of the things that is often never discussed, the iranians have rejected cooperation with the united states over isil the at the beginning point and that ought to be the ending point. one of the things you can say about ayatollah khamenei, is he's a person i would say of integrity, he's not corrupt and arrested a key does exactly what he means. you know, and he's made his
views on the united states international system, and international history quite plain. you can reject those and you can say he doesn't mean it but actually as you've said to me his user internally consistent and he elaborates on them quite frankly. so i'm not quite sure if there's likely to be significant degree of cooperation between china and iran in the middle east or some sort of a detente. is a real commonality of values, stared -- shared strategic consumptions -- assumptions the there will be a tactical convergence in that both sides would've the same thing but i'm not quite sure if thou will result in a larger harmonious relationship between the two states. iran remains today and i do as strategic adversary and a manageable one. its strength should not be exaggerated to its weaknesses should be appreciated. it is a weaker power in the negotiations, and in the long-term i think they're a strategic barriers, barriers to
protection of iranian powers but they're likely to think what they are and what they have been for longtime a mischievous power, one has some alliances among the shia groups i don't buy the claims of iranian hegemony of predominance over the middle east. nobody can the hegemonic power in the middle east. the united states has not been able to be the hegemonic power in the middle east. great britain has not. or pretty good britain i should say. i do not see iran as a great threat that could make the middle east but i think you'll be an actor whose searches can nevertheless be contained. thanks. >> wonderful, thank you. and building on that, joel, i'll turn it over to to discuss iran and iraq. >> thank you. pleasure to be here. a pleasure to be here somewhere on -- a copy of my remarks i'm going to try to remember -- they
were brilliant by the way. i would e-mail them out afterwards if anyone is interested. i should state up front that i'm here to give my own views and i don't purport to speak for national defense university, which is kind enough to host the and my project, or for dod or anyone else in the government. and i also don't purport to be an expert on the an in the works of the iranian regime, so i can only speak based on what i observed of the iranian regime's behavior in iraq during the time that i was in iraq and have been following iraq, essentially since we invaded that more intensive since 2005. and based on what i saw in iraq, from 2005 onward, i think you cannot escape the fact that the iranian regime waged a war against the united states. that the united states sponsored
a long and broad military campaign against the u.s. military and against other representatives o of the u.s. government inside iraq, as well as those of our allies that were present in iraq. i would like to break my remarks into two different aspects. the first is to talk about the nature of the iranian military campaign against us in iraq and what i think it meant about iranian intentions towards us, and then to backup from that a little bit and to talk about maybe what it indicates the iranian intentions in iraq, now that we are gone, or not at, since we left as a large-scale force at the end of 2011. so getting a bit technical, the reason, the way that we know that the iranian regime was waging a war inside iraq and intended to do so in a military
sense, you can follow several signature weapons that the iranians produced and disseminated inside iraq come and which curiously were never proliferated beyond groups that were affiliated with the iranian regime. so they work copied. they didn't fall into the wrong hands. they were put into sale and a weapons bazaar, that the arrangement able to control their distribution and their use once they're inside iraq. they were only used by shia militant groups that were trained, funded, armed, otherwise sponsored in political sponsored by the iranian regime to these signature weapons never, other than maybe a handful of occasions, fell into sunni insurgent hands. the first was a roadside bomb, or the ied called the explosively informed penetrator which was a very sophisticated anti-armour weapon which could
destroy virtually any armored vehicle, humvee, et cetera that the u.s. military had in its arsenal come as was the coalition troops had in their arsenal, and did a great deal of damage to us over the course of about six years. second was 240-millimeter rockets which are produced in iran and which showed up on the battlefield in iraq in great numbers and were used only by shia militant groups associate with the iranian regime. and the last was something called the improvised rocket assisted munitions, or iran which is essentially something like a propane tank or some other container which is packed full of explosives and shrapnel and then is put on top of a rocket and then shot like a blunderbuss to usually over the walls of the base, intended to cause mass casualties. there were numerous times when iranian sponsored militias tried to find this sort of iram
blunderbuss against our bases, targeting, trying to intimate areas where our troops were sleeping or gathering, things like dining facilities, places where they could kill off all the people all at once. it was the contemporary version of the marine barracks bombing in beirut in 1983, but it was intended to cause, to gather the shock value of a mass casualty event. they never succeeded in that. they killed smaller numbers of our troops and contractors and so on, but they came close on a handful of occasions. and had they done so, can you imagine if, for example, they been able, the problem is it's not very accurate weapon. you can't aim a blunderbuss very accurately and get it where you're trying to end it at but had he been able to pull that off they could have killed 100, 200 of our troops. between 2005-2008 there were over 1100 esp, or explosively
formed penetrators, detonations against us and against other coalition members inside iraq. entering the times are also more than 500 efp is ever found and defused before they went off. that means over that four-year period there were more than 1700 efp attacks were intended attacks against us and our coalition partners inside iraq. but if you narrow it down just in 2007 and 2008, the search period, and was even greater. or just under 900 efp detonations across those two years and there were more than 400 were found and defused before they went off, meaning they were just under an average of two dfp attacks of during the period of the search. they did a great deal of damage. i can do some snapshots but during the last quarter of 2006 which was a very violent period in iraq, efp attacks accounted for about one in five of our and
coalition troop deaths in iraq. in the month of july 2007 alone, or multinational corps iraq, general odierno's command at the time come was tracking that there were 99 efp attacks into one month alone come and during that month those killed 23 of our troops and wounded 89. so this is not insignificant. it was during this same period that the revolutionary guard corps begin using, sending not only their own people into iraq in order to coordinate shia militant operations against us, a number of whom were captured and then eventually repatriated to the iranians, but also they begin using lebanese hezbollah operatives inside iraq in order to coordinate and help plan operations against our troops, such as the infamous -- the senior lebanese hezbollah operative who was captured in basra in early 2007 after having
had a hand in carrying out an attack against our troops but wound up with the execution of several of our soldiers. and he was kept in our custody until the end of 2011 we had to be headed back over to the iraqis who after a while repatriated him and he wound up presumably back in lebanon or in syria by this point. there was also a spike in efp and iranian rocket attacks against our troops in june and july 2011, for just about three years ago, when ef fps or iranian rockets killed 18 of our soldiers in about a six week period. during a time when the iranians and their shia militant were trying to claim credit for expelled as they are to carry out attacks to get the perception that it was the attacks were forcing us to withdraw from iraq as we draw down our troops at that time.
and tried to garner the same kind of political victory for the shia militant proxies that hezbollah claimed in the israeli withdrawal from lebanon. they were also intended to worsen the political environment both in iraq and here for the negotiation of the status forces agreement that would've kept the residual u.s. force in place, something that i think they succeeded in having an effect in doing. now, to switch gears for a moment and talk about some broader lessons from these great technical details, i think to my mind what this meant was the iranians were willing to destabilize iraq during the time we were there in order to try to force us out militarily. that ran counter to the exception or the opinion which is i think which ran the iranians and we have a shared interest in a stable and nonviolent iraq. i don't think that the facts bear that out. i think the facts show that they
were willing, they were willing to have ambassador crocker, a lebanonization of iraq in order to have iraq weak and divided and free of our serious influences. i think you can broaden is into, i think this stems from the broader interest that the irgc in particular views that iran should have in iraq, and i think, i think they are intended to defeat five dangers from iraq for the islamic republic. the first is that iraqi military should come and i think the irgc's view, should never be allowed to pose a threat to the islamic republic as it did in the iran-iraq war. so it was important for the iranians to use their militant proxy influence to defeat our efforts to try to build up a
strong western modeled iraqi nationalist army and air force. and so far they essentially succeeded in that. but more recently we see them try to replace that strong iraqi nationalist army institution with a militia centralized -- a militia focused alternate security apparatus that looks an awful lot like the irgc in the seizure i think they're kind of raise up an alternate and restructured in iraq so they can be sure that there will never be another iraqi military that can invade iran and pose a threat. by the same token it was important for them to try to suppress iraqi national identity. it was important that the iraqi shia community viewed himself as the shia first and not iraqi first for ever first. first. i think of to say they through their proxy both political and militant. they've got a long way towards a publishing that. next, i think they did it as important that iraq should never
again be a platform for either iranian opposition groups or for other iranian potential adversaries such as us. next, forthcoming was important for them that the sadr movement not be allowed to develop as an indigenous iraqi nationalist competitor, shia islam's competitor to the islamic republic which is why as an which is why as a sponsor their militant proxy group inside iraq it was important for them to do that within the sadr movement so they could co-opt some of the sadr movement and control. and lastly, and a duty to comment on this too much, it was important for them to contain the influence so it could not be a threat to the islamic republic's legitimacy, which is why didn't i think it was important for them to have a shia militant proxy community that they could use within the iraqi shia islamic sphere that
could be a challenge. i will leave it at that. any of the things we can expand and follow-up. >> super. thank you for that detailed look and those lessons learned. karim, we will close with you with some broader conclusions about what this means for the is the reigning relationship. >> i'd like to first thank carnegie for inviting me even though i work you. at. i never take anything for granted. [laughter] and second, had i been giving this talk of years ago i would set would like to start with if you will points as an institution we're trying to become increasingly social media conscious i would like to start with if you oral tweets what i hope to buttress with some oral subtrees. a couple first two points related to iran and second point related to iran and the u.s. the first point is that in the
fight against isis, iran is both the arsonist and the fire brigade. that's perhaps pointing out the obvious but had it not been for iran's support for the regime's brutality, for the maliki government heavy handedness, arguing isis wouldn't exist were certainly wouldn't be as strong as it is now. and the frontline battles against isis, iran is playing an incredibly important role as we have seen over the last few weeks with the tweets on the front lines fighting against isis. with regards to the wisdom of the united states partnering with iran defied isis, as ray mentioned, iran has rejected that cooperation. but i would simply add that iran can be effective at simultaneously killing sunni radicals, and also fueling sunni
radicalism. it's summer to i think the dynamics between the israeli fight against palestinian militancy. as we've seen over the last three, four decades israel has been oftentimes very effective at killing palestinian militants while at the same time fueling palestinian militants but i think using shiite radicals to fight sunni radicals is going to kill sunni radicalism. second point i'd like to make, just an observation about iran's role in the region, is that in the past and certainly in the previous decade end in the early years of the revolution, iran used its ideology to project power. and i think increasingly they're using their power to project ideology. what does that mean? 10 years ago, 15 years ago there was a lot of popular support in the arab world for iran, in 2006, when arabs were told about
which leaders come which countries in the region the most admired. iran figured very close to the top, given iran's opposition to the united states come given iran's opposition to israel. it a tremendous kind of popular support, soft power throughout the region. now we have a situation in which iran is dominating for arab countries, syria, iraq, lebanon and now yemen. but they're not dominating them in terms of soft power but increasingly dominating them militarily. i would argue this is a position which iran isn't very comfortable with. they would much prefer to have kind of their soft power and soft appeal throughout the region rather than having to reveal -- yield military power in being perceived as a sectarian power. i think one of the things which the iranian leaders express
concern about whether its implicit or explicit is its increasingly divided omar khadr divided muslim world. divided muslim world isn't good. if you're shia and represent over 10% of the region's muslims you want to divide. you want united ummah which you can lead which have to dominate. i would also say that in terms of shia historiography, this is as we all know as a philosophy, as a religion i think they much prefer to be victimized and maintain this ideology of victimization whether it them being perceived as oppressive. the current realities from the outside it appears that there increase would dominate the region but i would say this isn't the position which they're very comfortable with. pallette me move on to the
u.s.-iran relations, and what isis means for you is iran relations but i was in one of the important fault lines between the pragmatists and the hardliners in tehran is that the pragmatists, and then talk about people like president rouhani, foreign ministers of the comedy of it -- foreign minister a cd, they have shown themselves willing to work with america against sunni radicals, where as the hardliners in tehran have shown themselves willing to work with sunni radicals against the united states. going back to 1979, a lot of instances of u.s.-iran convergences figures and iran both have a common enemy in the soviet union, and president reagan tried to work with iran against the soviet union. he was rebuffed. into their early months of the revolution, the carter government tried to warn iran
about saddam hussein's invasion, intending innovation. they didn't take the threat seriously and can they preferred to see the united states as an adversary. there certainly was a convergence of interest between the united states and iran, vis-à-vis the taliban in afghanistan. that was arguably a missed opportunity i the united states. and now we have isis in which there's a mutual adversary. but what has been pretty consistent has been whatever iran has been faced with a mutual adversary of the united states, rather than siding with america against that adversary they have either state out of the fights or they have worked with the adversary, which is the united states. in the case of isis what's been quite remarkable over the last few days i've been reading a lot
of the statements from the senior revolutionary guard, individuals in media, government and military are hand-picked by the supreme leader, and airline has been incredibly consistent, which is that isis is a creation of the united states. isis -- khamenei went so far to say that isis is a creation of the uk, united states and the zionist. and again i go back to what i said earlier that the pragmatists are willing to work with the united states against isis, and when foreign minister zarif came to new york during the u.n. general assembly in a speech at the council on foreign relations he mocked those who said that isis was created by america. he can't dismiss them as conspiracy theorists typically weeks later the supreme leader came out they can consistently and said that isis was created by the united states. the reason i say this is about i think there's been a tendency as of late to conflate our hopes
about iran and our analysis. i think we all hope that we will see a government in iran which starts to prioritizprioritiz e national interest ahead of ideological interest. the government of iran which opens up to the world, i think it's good for iran, good for america, good for the region. but i think we oftentimes delude ourselves into thinking that the folks that come and say these things, and the united states, have real power and influence over the sites of major iranian decisions. when you look at the individuals who do have this authority in the revolutionary guard, the office of the supreme leader, they are very consistent about who their adversary is. and let me kind of wrap up with a final point about, and it's related to this point about the nuclear deal and the prospects for a nuclear détente and whether a nuclear détente
between the united states and iran would alter iran's regional behavior and bring about more cooperation between the united states and iran. on one hand if you look at it separate from the perspective of iran's national and economic interests, there are tremendous our kids to be made for them doing to do. they are burning, which is a burning the candle at to end but they're actually burning a candle at three ins which doesn't make much sense but let me explain. they are hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars per month keeping the assad regime in power in syria. simultaneously they lost tremendous oil production and export, oil payments. this is a country which was at one point exporting 2.5 million barrels per day. now it's been cut in half so they've been losing tremendous amount financially. and when i say three ins, the price of oil has dropped fairly
dramatically over the last for weeks and the trendline looks to continue. so from a purely economic perspective, there's a strong impetus for iran to do this nuclear deal. but i would argue in the worldview of the supreme leader and the revolutionary guard, if a nuclear deal strengthens the hand of the more kind of pragmatic moderate forces in iran, i can see it being amenable to the kind of parochial interests within iran. and certainly the statements from the folks who have to sign off on the deal hasn't inspire a lot of confidence. i would also say that since 1979 to the present there's been tremendous continuity in iran's regional behavior. remember, there was an eight year government of a reformist government and we did really see any change in iran's support for
hezbollah, iran's opposition to issues existence, iran's support for the assad regime. so i think the hope that in nuclear deal is going to really alter iranian behavior is not really buttressed by the historic record. between 1979-2003 there was no nuclear conflict between the united states and we still saw tremendous regional rivalry. so i would just end by saying that i think as long as this current supreme leader, ayatollah khamenei is alive and he is the supreme leader, i think we will continue to see episodes of tactical convergence between the united states and iran, and tactical cooperation between the united states and iran. i think for his personal interest we will also continue to see the strategic enmity between the united states and the rent, not because it's an interest of either country or something which is being pushed by the u.s. government but i
think it's in the personal parochial interests of the supreme leader to maintain its strategic entity. so thank you. >> thank you, karim, for that somewhat pessimistic but realistic appraisal of where things are headed. we are going turn now to questions in the interest of time. we're going to take three questions at a time. please do identify yourself and your affiliation, and keep it to a question please come in very brief. >> thank you. i'm a journalist. my question is to anyone who would like to answer. in february 2014 u.s. treasury issued a new statement in which attention to two dozen companies including a couple of
corporations -- corporis who live in tehran. treasury stated that these operatives who have been bringing fighters from gulf, from afghanistan to syria to al-qaeda groups. that move now, it doesn't make sense to help al-qaeda with groups in syria, most likely include isolated groups. i was wondering if any of the panelists shed some light on this role between the knowledge of iran -- the wrong to have al-qaeda groups in syria. thank you. >> i'm a visiting researcher at georgetown university.
my question is about do you think that is a better measure of control and balance between irgc, the revolutionary guard, so to clarify, how much power do you think that it will lose than gain before somebody stops them inside iran? and is there a threat of the revolutionary guard been so much powerful that they can actually shape the fundamental governance of iran and the supreme leader himself, or not? the irgc is just free to do whatever it wants? >> if, as you suggested, the saudis have the hand have an interest in keeping the price of oil down and thereby inflict some pain on the iranians, the
iraqis and the russians, what do you think would be the iranian response? and secondly, if there is no -- what should we expect? >> so why don't we take that first question on the alleged iranian support to extremists or al-qaeda. >> so, i can't speak to the specific alleged support to sunni groups such as daish interior. before 2012 there were clear signs occasionally of iranian
regime outreach, coordination with sometimes support of sunni extremist groups inside iraq, even including al-qaeda and iraq. certainly including groups -- one of the clearest minute sessions -- manifestation of that is al-qaeda and iraq members and larger al-qaeda members, so al-qaeda members based in pakistan were able to cross iran to go back and forth between iraq and pakistan to exchange messages and so on between the software he and the leaders of al-qaeda in iraq. which is the role that, for example, they have for quite some time, until he became the ill-fated number three and al-qaeda, a guy who always gets killed. he was the head of the al-qaeda support network inside
iran that was sending fighters and money and so on into iraq mainly to iraqi kurdistan. so there is a precedent for the iranians reaching out to groups that would not appear it would have an interest in promoting in order to try to unleash them against a common enemy. i can only speculate that if they did it in syria in order to unleash the more unsavory islamist radical elements against white in d.c. we term as a moderate syrian opposition or the free syrian army. >> ray, this issue of the domestic power of the revolutionary guard, you've written a lot on that. >> my view on that has always been that iran has not
transformed or being transformed to pressure. released tuesday, prussia has an army. i think it was subordination to clerical authority. i think is relationship that works for both sides, the guards require the ideological visualization of the clerical leadership and the clerical leadership requires muscular power of the revolution regards. they share a common ideological influence towards each other. so over the time, of course the role of the guards have grown, particularly in terms of economic power. power. that's not particularly unusual in developing countries for the military to be part of the commerce. we saw that with the pla in china because they bring certain skills and after beers, particularly in the aftermath of the iran-iraq war when the task was the physical reconstruction of the country, they were
instrumental in that. and over the years that economic power has grown. i still believe there's a subordination of clerical authority at this particular point. that are more meaningful acts on the table and some of the decisions the islamic republic is likely to me, whether it's about domestic power or about foreign relations have to take into account the guards. also if you look at some of the guards publications, they tend to refer to ayatollah khamenei as -- have already elevated him to the point of substantial authority. so i think there's a sort of codependency there. in terms of high touch briefing on the saudis. ..